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But De Tolly was only remaining to defend the town whilst the inhabitants carried off with them their movable property. Whilst on the side of Smolensk, when Buonaparte arrived, all was silent, and the fields were empty, on the other side it was one vast crowd of people moving away with their effects. Buonaparte hoped that the Russians would deploy before the gates, and give him battle; but they did nothing of the sort, and he determined to storm the place. Its walls were old but very thick, and it might hold out some time, and the assault must cost many lives; but Buonaparte determined to make it. The French, however, learned that the Russians were already in retreat; and Murat observed that to waste these lives was worse than useless, as the city would be theirs without a blow immediately. Buonaparte replied in an insulting manner to Murat, and ordered the assault the next morning. On this, Murat, driven to fury, spurred his horse to the banks of the Dnieper, in the face of the enemy, between batteries, and stood there as voluntarily courting death. Belliard called out to him not to sacrifice himself—he only pushed on still nearer to the fire of the Russian guns, and was forced from the scene by the soldiers. The storming commenced, and Tolly defended the place vigorously, killing four or five thousand of the French as they advanced to the attack.This scheme was to take Ticonderoga, and then to advance upon Albany. Whilst the army was marching to this point, the fleet, carrying another strong force, was to ascend the Hudson, and there meet Burgoyne, by which means the British could then command the Hudson through its whole extent; and New England, the head of the rebellion, would be entirely cut off from the middle and southern countries. The plan was excellent in itself, but demanded for its successful accomplishment not only commanders familiar with the country, but the most ardent spirit in them, and the most careful co-operation.
The art of coining received, like other things, a new facility and perfection from the application of the steam-engine. Messrs. Boulton and Watt, at the Soho Works, set up machinery, in 1788, which rolled out the metal, cut out the blanks, or circular pieces, shook them in bags to take off the rough edges, and stamped the coins—in higher perfection than ever before attained—at the rate of from thirty to forty thousand per hour.[See larger version]
ARREST OF MAJOR ANDRé. (See p. 278.)Whilst Napoleon was thus advancing towards Paris, the besotted Bourbons rather rejoiced in it, for they said it would compel the two chambers to invest the king with despotic power—that was what they were still longing for; and Louis himself, addressing the foreign ambassadors, bade them assure their sovereigns that he was well, and that the foolish enterprise of "that man" should as little disturb Europe as it had disturbed him.
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The minute subdivision of land which placed the population in a state of such complete dependence upon the potato was first encouraged by the landlords, in order to multiply the number of voters, and increase their Parliamentary interest; but subsequently, as the population increased, it became in a great measure the work of the people themselves. The possession of land afforded the only certain means of subsistence, and a farm was therefore divided among the sons of the family, each one, as he was married—which happened early—receiving some share, and each daughter also often getting a slice as her marriage-portion. In vain were clauses against subletting inserted in leases; in vain was the erection of new houses prohibited; in vain did the landlord threaten the tenant. The latter relied upon the sympathy of his class to prevent ejectment, and on his own ingenuity to defeat the other impediments to his favourite mode of providing for his family. This process was at length carried to an extreme that became perfectly ludicrous. Instead of each sub-tenant or assignee of a portion of the farm receiving his holding in one compact lot, he obtained a part of each particular quality of land, so that his tenement consisted of a number of scattered patches, each too small to be separately fenced, and exposed to the constant depredations of his neighbours' cattle, thus affording a fruitful source of quarrels, and utterly preventing the possibility of any improved system of husbandry. These small patches, however, were not numerous enough to afford "potato gardens" for the still increasing population, and hence arose the conacre system, by which those who occupied no land were enabled to grow potatoes for themselves. Tempted by the high rent, which varied from ￡8 to ￡14 an acre without manure, the farmers gave to the cottiers in their neighbourhood the use of their land merely for the potato crop, generally a quarter of an Irish acre to each. On this the cottier put all the manure he could make by his pig, or the children could scrape off the road during the year, and "planted" his crop of potatoes, which he relied upon as almost the sole support of his family. On it he also fed the pig, which paid the rent, or procured clothes and other necessaries if he had been permitted to pay the rent with his own labour. The labourer thus became a commercial speculator in potatoes. He mortgaged his labour for part of the ensuing year for the rent of his field. If his speculation proved successful, he was able to replace his capital, to fatten his pig, and to support himself and his family, while he cleared off his debt to the farmer. If it failed, his former savings were gone, his heap of manure had been expended to no purpose, and he had lost the means of rendering his pig fit for the market. But his debt to the farmer still remained, and the scanty wages which he could earn at some periods of the year were reduced, not only by the increased number of persons looking for work, but also by the diminished ability of the farmers to employ them. Speculation in potatoes, whether on a large or small scale, had always been hazardous in the southern and westerly portions of Ireland. There had been famines from the failure of that crop at various times, and a remarkably severe one in 1822, when Parliament voted ￡300,000 for public works and other relief purposes, and subscriptions were raised to the amount of ￡310,000, of which ￡44,000 was collected in Ireland. In 1831 violent storms and continual rain brought on another failure of the potato crop in the west of Ireland, particularly along the coast of Galway, Mayo, and Donegal. On this occasion the English public, with ready sympathy, again came forward, and subscriptions were raised, amounting to about ￡75,000. On several other occasions subsequently, the Government found it necessary to advance money for the relief of Irish misery, invariably occasioned by the failure of the potatoes, and followed by distress and disease. The public and the Legislature had therefore repeated warnings of the danger of having millions of people dependent for existence upon so precarious a crop.In the course of 1810 the French were expelled completely from the East and West Indies, and the Indian Ocean. Guadeloupe, the last of their West India Islands, was captured in February, by an expedition conducted by General Beckford and Admiral Sir A. Cochrane. In July an armament, sent out by Lord Minto from India, and headed by Lieutenant-Colonel Keating, reduced the Isle of Bourbon; and, being reinforced by a body of troops from the Cape of Good Hope, under Major-General John Abercromby and Admiral Bertie, the Isle of France, much the more important, and generally called Mauritius, surrendered on the 3rd of December. Besides a vast quantity of stores and merchandise, five frigates and about thirty merchantmen were taken; and Mauritius became a permanent British colony. From this place a squadron proceeded to destroy the French factories on the coast of Madagascar, and finished by completely expelling them from those seas.The Minister still claimed the character of the landowner's friend; and in the House of Commons, out of 658 members, 125 was the utmost number that could be considered as Free Traders. But the progress of the League agitation this year was immense. Five years had elapsed since the Anti-Corn-Law Association in Manchester had put forth its humble appeal for five-shilling subscriptions, and now in one single year ￡50,000 had been given for the objects of the Association, and it was resolved to raise a further fund of ￡100,000. Mr. Bright had been returned for Durham in July, and already his touching appeals for justice for the people had struck the ear of the House. Like his fellow-labourers, Cobden, Colonel Thompson, George Wilson, W. J. Fox, M.P., and others, he had been busy in all parts of England, addressing audiences sometimes of 10,000 persons. The League speakers had also visited Scotland, and had been everywhere received enthusiastically. The great Free Trade Hall in Manchester was finished, and had been the scene of numerous gatherings and Free Trade banquets, at which 7,000 or 8,000 persons had sometimes sat down together. The metropolis, however, was still behind the great provincial cities in supporting the movement; and the League, therefore, resolved on holding a series of great meetings in Drury Lane Theatre, which was engaged for one night a week during Lent. The first of these important meetings was held on the 15th of March, and was attended by so large a number of persons that the pit, boxes, and even the higher gallery were filled immediately upon the opening of the doors. The succeeding meetings were no less crowded and enthusiastic. Attempts were made to obstruct these meetings, but without success. The use of Drury Lane Theatre had soon to be relinquished, the Earl of Glengall and the committee of shareholders having prohibited Mr. Macready, the lessee, from letting it for political purposes. The League were, in like manner, refused admittance to Exeter Hall; but they were soon enabled to obtain the use of Covent Garden Theatre, where they quickly prepared for a series of great meetings, which proved to be no less crowded and enthusiastic.
But all this could not have prevailed with Bernadotte—who leaned fondly and tenaciously towards France from old associations—had not the unbearable pride, insolence, and domineering spirit of Napoleon repelled him, and finally decided his course. So late as March, 1811, Bernadotte used this language to M. Alquier, the French ambassador, when pressed by him to decide for France:—"I must have Norway—Norway which Sweden desires, and which desires to belong to Sweden, and I can obtain it through another power than France." "From England, perhaps?" interposed the ambassador. "Well, yes, from England; but I protest that I only desire to adhere to the Emperor. Let his majesty give me Norway; let the Swedish people believe that I owe to him that mark of protection, and I will guarantee all the changes that he desires in the system and government of Sweden. I promise him fifty thousand men, ready equipped by the end of May, and ten thousand more by July. I will lead them wherever he wishes. I will execute any enterprise that he may direct. Behold that western point of Norway. It is separated from England only by a sail of twenty-four hours, with a wind which scarcely ever varies. I will go there if he wishes!"And all this time the spirit of revolt against Napoleon's domination was growing rapidly in Germany; and had the Austrians only made the slightest use of their present opportunity, the whole of the country would have been in arms and the French completely driven out. Though Prussia was still too much depressed to dare to rise and join Austria, there was a fast-growing spirit of indignation amongst its population, which the Tugend Bund had tended greatly to increase. The brave Major Schill, without waiting for any sanction from the King of Prussia, led forth his band of hussars, amounting to about five thousand, and prepared to join with Colonel D?rnberg, an officer of Jerome, the King of Westphalia's guard, to raise an insurrection in that State, and drive out Jerome and the French. The design was betrayed to Jerome by a traitorous friend of D?rnberg, and he was compelled to fly. Letters found amongst D?rnberg's papers showed the participation of Schill in the scheme. Jerome, of course, complained to the King of Prussia, and the unhappy monarch was obliged to disavow and denounce the conduct of Schill. The brave partisan made his way to Wittenberg and Halberstadt, and was pursued by the forces of Westphalia and Holland northwards to Weimar, and finally to Stralsund, which he prepared to defend. The place was stormed by the Dutch and Westphalians, and Schill was killed fighting in the streets of Stralsund, after having split the head of the Dutch general, Carteret, with his sword. Thus fell the gallant Schill, true to his motto—"Better a terrible end than endless terror."
With regard to the Turkish question, all possible measures were in the first instance to be tried, with a view to reconcile the differences between Russia and Turkey. These referred to the Russian protection of the Christian subjects of the Sultan, and the navigation of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus. When these matters were disposed of, then, and not till then, was the condition of Greece to be considered, and in dealing with this question the British plenipotentiary was to use great caution, to avoid committing England either to the recognition or subjugation of that country.详情
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